The city reached an agreement with the Marshall Youth Baseball Association and the Marshall Youth Softball Association for a new contract for use of Airport Park that commissioners will consider Thursday.
The item was originally introduced by the city at a January 9 Commissioners Meeting during which 12 community members addressed the commission with concerns over the new fees.
During the meeting the item was tabled while the city worked to discuss the problems with the MYBA and MYSA and come to an agreement before they proceeded.
For the original ball field use agreement the city proposed to increase user fees paid to the city, on a per sport, and per season basis from $60 to $90 per team participating in league play.
For the concession agreement, the city proposed to change rental fees from $500 to 10 percent of gross revenue for a specified period. City Manager Mark Rohr said this is the same rate the city currently charges at Memorial City Hall for concessions.
Members of the community spoke out against the two agreements, raising concerns over how the rise in rates will affect the player’s fees, taking money out of family’s pockets and potentially making it harder for families to sign their children up for the sports leagues.
Current rates for the MYSA are a minimal $75 per player for early registration and $85 after early registration and for the MYBA are $80 for ages 3-4 tee-ball, $125 for ages 5-6 tee-ball, $125 for ages 7 and 8 for coach pitch, $125 for ages 9 and 10; and $130 for ages 11-12, ages 13-14 and ages 15-19.
The city did an investigation into the use of the fields and found that the city hadn’t had a concession agreement with the Marshall Youth Sports Board since 1999.
The last signed ball field use agreement on file was from April 2012. Rohr said although no agreement has been in place in the last seven years, the city’s financial records do reflect minimal revenue from ball field usage from team fees, receiving $570 in 2017; $2,020 in 2018; and $1,380 in 2019.
Financial records for the last three years reflect no revenue generated for the city from concession services at the park, Rohr said.
Ronny Minatrea, MYSA President, said that he and MYBA President Kendrick Biggs, met three separate times with Rohr to discuss the contract. One the final meeting Minatrea said that Randy Pritchard sat in to help create the language for the contracts.
“Contracts should always be good for both parties, and I feel that this contract is good for MYSA going forward,” Minatrea said.
He said that the contracts for MYSA and MYBA are identical, to ensure no discrimination for either league. He said the group signed a three year contract that has an annual progression for team fees to be paid to the city.
The first year of the new contract the league will pay $60 per team, second year $75 per team, and the third year $90 per team.
“These fees will not cause MYSA to raise registration fees now or in the future,” Minatrea said. “One of the goals that our current board is working on now is to get participation up and to lower registration fees for the future seasons.”
He said that one part of the contract guaranteed that the city would reinvest the revenue from the leagues back into Airport Park.
“This is a big deal to our organizations, because in the past, depending on who oversaw city operations, our facility was neglected for many years for other city projects. Mark Rohr has promised us that the ‘New City of Marshall’ will do a better job in regards to taking care of its current obligations to the Airport Park facility,” He said. “Programs like MYSA and MYBA are extremely beneficial to the city of Marshall on many levels and I personally feel that youth sports outlets within our community, only better us as a whole,”
The city commissioners will vote on the new contract today at the City Commissioners Meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The full contract is available for the community to review under the agenda item at www.marshalltexas.net/agenda/1348/city-commission-meeting-02132020.